Young and Older Lovers (What Is A Cougar?)
Since the beginning of humankind, there have been people who don’t follow social norms. One of those norms is the age difference between partners and that is the subject of this blog.
What is considered “normal” has changed over the years and is different depending upon culture, but most psychologists agree about age difference in English speaking cultures. A lot of data indicates it is normal for a woman in English speaking cultures to select a man her age to five years older and for a man to select a woman his age to five years younger.
This norm is based upon evolutionary biology. A woman selects a man a little older because he is likely to be better able to provide for her while still being very fertile. A man selects a woman a little younger because she has more fertile years left than a woman older than he. These preferences are a result of the biological drive to produce and raise as many children as possible.
US Census Data as well as similar data from Australia and the UK confirm this hypothesis. In about 67% of married couples, the husband is between the same age and five years older than the wife. The average is about 2.5 years.
That leaves 33% of married couples outside the supposed norm, so where are they?
The age spread is larger for husbands with younger wives, being about 12% for husbands 6-9 years older, 5% for husbands 10-14 years older, 1.5% for husbands 15 – 19 years older, and 1% for husbands 20 years older or more.
On the other end of the spectrum, in less than 10% of marriages is the wife up to 5 years older than her husband. Wives are 6-9 years older than their husbands in about 3% of marriages, 10–14 years older in 1% of marriages, 15–19 years older in 0.3%, and 20 years or more older in 0.3%.
(The numbers add up to over 100% because I rounded a little.)
The data is for married couples. What about couples who are just in it for the sex?
The “Half Your Age Plus Seven” rule
This “rule” is thought to have French origins and was originally used to calculate the ideal age for a bride. It is currently used by some to calculate the maximum socially acceptable age difference between couples, married or otherwise. It works like this.
If you’re 40 years old, the youngest person you should date is 27. That’s half your age, 20, plus seven years. The oldest person you should date is figured backwards. If you’re 40, double your age to 80, and then subtract 14. That tells you the oldest person you should date is 66.
The maximum age difference increases as the person’s age increases, and the maximum age for a partner increases faster than the minimum age. For instance, for a person of either sex who’s 20, the minimum age dating partner would be 17 and the maximum age dating partner would be 26. For a person of either sex who’s 60, the minimum age is 37 and the maximum age is 106.
There are some who feel this rule makes it socially acceptable for a man to date a woman much younger than himself, but doesn’t do the same for women. A man who is 60 and dating a woman who is 37 would raise some eyebrows, but most people would say, “to each her own”. The same wouldn’t be said for a 60 year old woman dating a 37 year old man. It is likely people would think she was paying the guy to date her because our society doesn’t believe a 60 year old woman could be sexually attractive to a 37 year old man.
Art is a reflection of society and as such can tell us a lot about how society feels about relationships. It is interesting to note that there are many more movies where the theme is the relationship between an older man and a much younger woman. This would indicate society as a whole tends to accept relationships of this type.
Films also tell us a lot about how society views older men and women. Older actors – Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Tom Selleck, Robert Redford, and many others – are often depicted as sexy older guys who attract women like flowers attract butterflies. It is very unusual to see an older actress appearing in the role of the sexy woman with young men lusting after her.
Instead, it is often the role of “older woman” is given to a woman who is relatively young and “aged” into the role with hairstyle and makeup, while the role of “younger man” is often given to a man around the character’s age or older than the character’s age. This is because society equates desirability in men to a mature look, but desirability in women to a youthful look.
As an example, in one of the most famous films about an older woman and a younger man, “The Graduate”, the older woman was played by Anne Bancroft when she was only 36. Her daughter was old enough to hook up with the male lead, the 20 year old recent college graduate played by Dustin Hoffman, so it is more likely Anne Bancroft’s character was about 45. Dustin Hoffman was 30 when he played the graduate.
Age difference between couples has generated several terms for both men and women who enter into relationships with people much younger or older than they are. These terms also are story categories for Noveltrove stories that let a reader select a particular type of story from all the rest.
Probably the best known are the “cougar” and the “milf”, but there are terms for men as well. The corresponding term for “cougar” is “rhino”, and just like there are “milfs”, there are “dilfs”. There are also people who aren’t any of these. They just fall in love in spite of their difference in ages. This is the Noveltrove story category called “Older and Younger (18+).
People who fall into these categories violate the social norms for age difference, but they do so for different reasons and in different ways. Let’s look at the terms and the actions of the people so labeled. The terms refer to stereotypes, but after all, it is socially understood stereotypes that help writers describe the characters in their story.
A “cougar” is defined by Merriam-Webster as a middle aged woman seeking a romantic relationship with a younger man.
The definition raises some questions relative to how one might write the character of a “cougar”.
What exactly is “middle-aged”? If we define it as half of life expectancy, it has changed a lot over time. In 1770 life expectancy was about 35 years. By 1950 life expectancy had increased to 58, and in 2015 had increased to 77. That would mean that today, a women between 38 and 39 would be middle aged.
Is a woman who is 39 considered middle aged today? Most women wouldn’t consider themselves to be middle-aged until later in life. To most women, being labeled as middle-aged means they’re losing the ability to be desirable to men. My usual reference relative to women and age, my wife, says that middle age might be 40, but few women that age would like being called middle aged.
Some references give an age range of 35 to 45 and others just say ten years older than her prospective partner, so is a woman who’s 30 a cougar if she wants to sleep with a guy who’s 20?
Maybe in the context of erotica it would make more sense to subtract the first 15 years of life expectancy to account for the fact most women aren’t looking for partners much before that age. They may be having sex, but it’s more recreational than anything else. If we do that, a middle aged woman today would be about 46.
This age falls within the range of what I think of as a “cougar”. She’s a woman who’s approaching or at the end of her fertility, but still enjoys sex for the orgasm and the ego boost, and many men her own age just aren’t up to it, so to speak, or at least not as often as she’d like. Younger men don’t have that problem.
Can a woman of 60 be classified as a cougar? I don’t know, but with the current trend toward physical health and women refusing to act and dress like their grandmothers did, there are some really hot women out there who have passed 60 so it’s entirely possible.
She’s seeking a romantic relationship?
What is a romantic relationship? I’ve never considered a true cougar to be interested in romance or love, and the data above doesn’t support a cougar loving her sex partners. One would think if love was a factor in a cougar relationship, the result would be marriage, but in less then 2% of marriages is the woman ten years or more older than her husband.
In the stereotype, the true “cougar” is just in it for the orgasms and for the satisfaction she gets by proving to herself she’s still a woman men desire. She doesn’t want to fall in love with her young cock, and probably really can’t anyway. The bigger the age difference, the less she’ll have in common with her partner, and during the interludes between sex, what would they talk about? She’ll also have the fear that as she grows older, the young guy will leave her, so she’ll at least try not to develop an emotional attachment to him.
She wants a younger man?
How young does the man have to be to be “younger” – ten years, fifteen years, twenty? I think it depends upon the age of the woman. If she’s 46 and seducing men between 18 and 28, she’s definitely a cougar. If she’s over 60 and she’s seducing 18 year old men, most people would call her something other than a cougar and it wouldn’t be kind.
How is she seeking that younger man?
More important than the age difference, to my way of thinking, is what “seeking” means. Is she coy about it, just dropping hints here and there that she’d be open to some bedroom shenanigans, or is she wearing clothes and saying things that don’t leave much to interpretation.
That’s especially important today, because those subtle hints might be considered by the man to be unintentional and would probably land him in trouble if he pursued them. As a result, he’ll probably have the thought, but won’t act.
If the cougar “accidentally” gives him a view down her blouse and she’s not wearing a bra, and then grins and says “see anything you like”, any guy is going to know what she wants. If she texts him with some pics of her sans anything except a smile, he’ll be wondering how fast he can get to her place and get on with the plugging and chugging.
There’s a reason why cougars are so fascinating for young men. For probably since there have been young men, those young men have fantasized about “older” women. There is one big explanation for this – when we are just getting started, we don’t know what the hell we’re doing where sex is concerned.
We get the standard talk about what to put where and then what happens. That’s like a driving instructor saying, “you steer with the steering wheel, shift with gear shift, push one pedal to make it go faster and push the other one to make it stop. Here’s the keys. Have fun.”
A lot later and after screwing up a lot while screwing around, we do find sex to be fun. When we get started, though, it would be nice to know how far to turn the wheel and in which direction, how to work the shifter, and which pedal is the accelerator. Sometimes we press the wrong pedal, everything comes to a screeching halt, and both we and our partners get frustrated.
Most young girls our age already know what causes that writhing, sheet grabbing, panting so hard she risks hyperventilating, orgasm. They’ve known which buttons to push and when for years and they practice all the time, but would they tell us guys? Nope, no way in hell.
So, all we need is a sexy older woman to show us those buttons and tell us when to push them. Young guys think an older woman knows all the answers and she’ll guide us through the process. We imagine her saying, “if you do this, I’ll get all wet and when you do this to me, I’ll want you to fuck me, and then I’ll want you to fuck me again”.
The “rhino” is the male counterpart to the cougar, but they don’t act in quite the same way as cougars. That’s because of what society dictates as acceptable behavior for men today. It wasn’t all that long ago that “rhinos” were known as “lechers” and “dirty old men”.
In days gone by, it was socially acceptable for a man to earn his fortune before taking a wife. He might be in his forties or fifties before he married, and the wife he took would be much younger because marriage was mostly a practical matter. The man needed male heirs to pass on his fortune, and young women were perceived as being more fertile so they would have more opportunities to have a son. Society accepted the relatively large age difference as “normal”.
Now that woman are free to enjoy sex without being married, young women are really selective about who gets to play. It’s the old T-shirt thing, “I have the pussy, so I make the rules”. If you’re not her idea of the right guy, coming on with lines like, “I’ll make you cum so hard you’ll scream your head off”, are likely to get you slapped and maybe kicked in the balls. Texting her pics of your erect cock might land you in jail.
Instead, “rhinos” must do a lot of seducing without the young girl realizing she’s being seduced. It’s more like planting the seed that he’d be a fantastic lover and then carefully cultivating it until the young girl actually makes the first move. That’s probably why more of these relationships end in marriage than cougar relationships. Most women want and need an emotional component to sex, and it’s understandable that all that seduction could result in love on her part. Love somewhat begets love, so the feeling could easily become mutual.
The term “milf” – the Mother I’d Like to Fuck – has been around for a while now. Like cougars, milfs have always been a fantasy of young guys and for the same reasons. We think a milf would be a great way to dive into the world of sex because they already know all about it. They wouldn’t be mothers if they didn’t, now would they? Milfs are different than cougars though.
A milf is a woman who is a mother, usually the mother of a friend, and she’s hot. A young man goes to a friend’s house as much in hopes of seeing his friend’s mother as he does to see the friend. It helps if that mother likes shorts and tight tops in the summer and prefers bikinis over one-piece suits, because milfs have bigger breasts and wider hips than young girls. Both are biological indicators that wake up the “I want to make babies with her” center in our brains.
The biggest difference between a milf and a cougar is a milf has no initial desire to be screwed by someone young enough to be her son. Society dictates that any man she screws be within a few years of her age, so even if she’s looking because her husband doesn’t satisfy her, she won’t be looking for a young guy. She might fantasize about a young guy, especially if she’s an avid reader of romance novels, but she’d never act on them all by herself.
The result is the young guy has to somehow seduce her into letting him take her to bed. Most young guys aren’t very skilled in seducing girls their own age, let alone a woman twenty or so years older than they are. They’ll fumble a lot and make fools of themselves a few times before the milf either decides it might be fun once or just decides to take pity on them.
Once she decides that, though, she’ll want more and especially so if her husband isn’t very attentive. She’s still not a cougar. She’s just a woman who’s found a way to satisfy her desires with one very special young guy.
It’s important to differentiate between a cougar, a milf, and a “hot wife”. Hot wives are a separate and distinct category because the husband almost always knows what his hot wife is doing, approves, and often recruits partners for her. Cougars can be married, and milfs usually are, but the husband won’t know they’re saddling up some young guy every time they get the chance.
A dilf – the Daddy I’d Like To Fuck - isn’t all that rare, but for a girl to actually ask him to give her the orgasm of her life is rare. That’s because mothers still tell their daughters that girls who go around offering themselves will be considered sluts and be condemned by society. That doesn’t stop young girls from wanting an older man, but it does keep most of them from stripping in front of that special daddy and asking him to fuck her senseless like she really wants.
That young girls are attracted to older men is pretty easy to understand. The first man any woman has a relationship with is her father. He’s the strength in the home, usually the one who brings home the paycheck, and the one who taught her to ride a bike and later, to drive. Her mother is the parent who taught her about being a woman. Her father is the parent who made her feel safe and secure.
In today’s world, it’s also possible the young girl didn’t know her father well or maybe even at all, and she’s looking for that strong male presence in her life. She wants and needs the solid base upon which to build her life, and she needs the security of knowing she has a man in her life who will take care of her when she needs that. Older men appear to be better at that than young guys.
In real life married men won’t just hop into bed with a very young girl unless there are some real problems at home. They like looking at young girls and fantasize about tight bodies and introducing a young girl to how great sex really can be, but society considers a relationship like that to be taboo. Most men still remember what everybody thought about that old guy who screwed young girls, so even if he’s looking for someone different than wifey, it won’t be a girl young enough to be his daughter. The social stigma against that type of conduct is too strong.
The young girl can’t act like a cougar and come right out and say she wants to feel her BFF’s father’s cock in her. That’ll just make him wonder what he did to cause that and he’ll back away before his name and picture end up on page one of the daily newspaper.
Instead, she’ll have to give him little hints, like wearing clothing that will force him to look, being sure to give him a breast-flattening good-bye hug when she leaves after visiting her BFF, and maybe even telling that BFF she thinks her father is hot. The daughter probably won’t tell her father her friend said that, but she will tell her mother, and her mother will relay that to the father. The guy in question will then begin to wonder if what he’s been seeing is intentional rather than just a young girl being young. It’ll take time, a lot of time unless there’s a problem between him and his wife, but he’ll come around eventually.
Older and Younger (18+)
This last category is probably fairly rare in real life, but does make a good story. There is no seducing or even courting taking place. The couple meet for some innocent reason and become friends because each likes the other as a person and they have something in common. Whatever that common interest is, it requires that they be together at least some of the time. Over time, that friendship becomes love and they end up in bed together.
The motivations of each of the couple are many and varied, but what’s important about this type of relationship is that neither is an active participant at first. They might think about sex with a person of much different age, but that’s a general thought rather than a fantasy about one particular person. They’re happy just being friends and sharing thoughts, experiences, and hopes.
It’s only after they become comfortable with each other and the discussion of those thoughts, experiences, and hopes becomes more intimate that they realize the relationship might be more than just friendly. It is probable that only one will finally confess to wanting more from their relationship, and it will probably be the woman. Women are more verbal than men and have an easier time expressing their feelings. Men, no matter what their age, will tend to hold back until they’re certain of the woman’s feelings.
So, what do you think about cougars, rhinos, milfs, dilfs, and older and younger relationships. Tell us in the comments so we can all expand our views.
Image by Kaz, digitally altered, cc0